IN the last three years, Davidson and Robertson, Rural Surveyors and Consultants, has seen a 60% increase in the volume of sales.

For 2018, D and R has seen a 31.5% growth in property sales year to date, compared to the whole of 2017. This includes whole farm units, forestry, lifestyle and equestrian properties.

D and R director George Hipwell MRICS said: “We’ve experienced a very buoyant market in 2018, with most sales going to a closing date and achieving offers in excess of the asking price.

“As land and property owners have become more aware of our consistently strong sales performance, the number and scale of properties sold has grown at a pace across our 9nine offices.

“With a strong database of active buyers, we’ve also seen an increase in off market, private, sales as purchasers take a more direct approach to secure property due to the shortage of supply in the market. A point which is reflected in the 2018 first half year results of the RICS/RAU Rural Land Market Survey.

“The increasing numbers of off market transactions is indicative of an under supply to the market where buyers are actively registering interest with agents in order to have the chance at any properties which may suit their criteria.”

The RICS survey highlights a further rise in the UK farmland market for the first half of 2018. The opinion based survey indicates that prime arable has risen to a new average high of £7184 per acre, almost 20% up on the same survey 6 months previous. There’s anecdotal evidence suggesting that the market is becoming polarised between sought after high quality land in good locations and lower grade farmland, which is proving to be more challenging.

George commented: “In line with the report, we are seeing the better quality land with good fixed equipment continuing to perform well however poorer quality holdings, whether that be land type or fixed equipment, are slower to conclude and generally are much more price sensitive. Where the land is suitable for afforestation there continues to be strong demand which keeps the floor in the market at a good level. There are uncertainties for the farmland market in the future and while recent strong farmgate prices were cause for optimism, a number of farm businesses may be holding off making a decision on their future.”